While the German public is mostly furious about NSA surveillance, their own national security agencies are in bed with and benefit from what NSA is doing. What you say on Facebook and in email can and will be used against you even though you are doing nothing wrong and have broken no rules. Only the terminally naive or deliberately evasive would say such massive amounts of data won’t be used against political opponents and business rivals. Remember, NSA shares data with thousands of US companies. So, you can assume your captured data is not private or secure, even if you are German.
According to an interview that will be published in this week’s edition of Spiegel, “American intelligence agency whistleblower Edward Snowden criticizes the methods and power of the National Security Agency. Snowden said the NSA people are “in bed together with the Germans.” He added that the NSA’s “Foreign Affairs Directorate” is responsible for partnerships with other countries. The partnerships are organized in a way that authorities in other countries can “insulate their political leaders from the backlash” in the event it becomes public “how grievously they’re violating global privacy.” Telecommunications companies partner with the NSA and people are “normally selected for targeting” based on their “Facebook or webmail content.”
Jan Fleischhauer of Spiegel.
To understand why Germans are so hyper-attuned to data-privacy issues, one probably has to look into our past. There is good reason for a land that has experienced two dictatorships — one with a Gestapo, the other with a Stasi — to be more sensible when it comes to the dangers of absolute monitoring.
Not just to America’s benefit
The sad truth is that the Germans have and continue to benefit mightily from America’s spying program. Unfortunately, Germany is far from being an empty patch on the global map of Islamic extremism. And the lion’s share of the information on the activities of extremists in Germany has been provided by the very agencies that we are now so livid about. They are America’s eyes and ears on the world — but they are ours, too.
Worldwide, governments are increasingly in collusion against their own citizens and are creating gigantic Orwellian surveillance systems ostensibly to protect us. But really, how much are they actually protecting us? Ask a German about the Stasi, that’s your answer.